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					                                                   STATE OF NEW YORK
                                       OFFICE OF THE WELFARE INSPECTOR GENERAL
David A. Paterson                                                                                             Sean Courtney
 Governor                                                                                                     Welfare Inspector General



            For Immediate Release
            August 28, 2008


            Bronx woman is arrested for stealing over $100,000 in
            public assistance, Medicaid and housing benefits

            Defendant concealed her husband’s employment with the New
            York City Housing Authority while they lived in an apartment
            subsidized by Housing Authority

            For additional information, contact:

            Sean Courtney, Inspector General
            Anthony Jacaruso, Chief Investigator
            Office of the Welfare Inspector General
            22 Cortlandt Street, 11th floor
            New York, New York 10007
            212-417-5822 or 347-622-0395

            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Sean Courtney, New York State Welfare Inspector General, announced the arrest of Mrs.
            Omaira Blalock, a Bronx resident, for defrauding the New York City Human Resources
            Administration (HRA) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) of a total of
            $106,432 in public assistance, Medicaid and housing benefits. The defendant is charged
            in Bronx Criminal Court with: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony;
            Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, a class C felony; Grand Larceny in the Third
            Degree, a class D felony; and eight counts of Offering a False Instrument For Filing in
            the First Degree, class E felonies. She faces a maximum of fifteen years in prison and
            restitution of the benefits that she stole.

            The Welfare Inspector General’s office, with assistance from NYC Department of
            Investigation’s (DOI) Office of the Inspector General for NYCHA, United States
            Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General and
            HRA’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation, found that the defendant stole public benefits for
            over five years by concealing that she was married and living with her husband, a
            supervisor employed by NYCHA who earned as much as $62,000 annually. As a result,
            while collecting under her married name over $70,000 in public assistance and medical
            benefits from HRA, she also collected under her maiden name almost $35,000 in housing
            benefits from NYCHA. In fact, investigators found that the defendant was living with
            her husband who supported her and their family and that the couple lived together since
            their marriage in 2001.
Inspector General Courtney remarked, “Although Mrs. Blalock signed all the false
documents that enabled her to fraudulently collect public benefits, her husband, a City
employee, also reaped the benefits. We have referred our findings to his employer, the
NYC Housing Authority, for their appropriate action.”

Rose Gill Hearn, DOI Commissioner said, “Someone who steals housing subsidies and
other public benefits hurts not only the taxpayers but the people who really need the
assistance. Every dollar stolen is one less dollar available to help support an eligible
household. DOI is pleased to have worked with colleagues in the State Welfare Inspector
General’s Office, HUD, and HRA to uncover this charged fraud, and we thank Attorney
General Andrew M. Cuomo and his staff for their support in prosecuting the case.”

Rene Febles, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development Office of Inspector General noted, “Our office is committed to identifying
and prosecuting any individual who tries to defraud HUD programs. It is important that
only those persons eligible for our programs receive those benefits.”

Alida Mattos, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, HRA stated, “This investigation is an
example of HRA’s continuing commitment to pursue fraud and to insure the integrity of
our programs.”

The criminal case is being prosecuted through the Office of Andrew M. Cuomo, the New
York State Attorney General. The case was principally investigated by Confidential
Investigator Gabriel Camacho and Jacqueline McMahon Smith, Special Counsel, of the
Welfare Inspector General’s Office with the assistance of Chief Investigator J. Graham
Forbes of DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for NYCHA, Special Agent Miguel
Collazo of the HUD Office of Inspector General and HRA’s Bureau of Fraud
Investigation, including Investigator Bridget Shell, under the supervision of Alida
Mattos, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of HRA. The criminal prosecution will be
handled by the Inspector General, who is a Special Assistant Attorney General.

The Office of the Welfare Inspector General is a State agency that investigates and
prosecutes criminal misconduct in the social services programs of State and local
governments. Complaints of misconduct in social services programs may be made
directly to the Inspector General’s office at 1-800-682-4530, by e-mail to
owig@dfa.state.ny.us or through our website at www.owig.state.ny.us.

Under the law, the complaint filed against the defendant constitutes an accusation only.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven otherwise by a court of law.




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